Millwall 2-2 Blackburn ~ Match Musings

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I am a bit of a realist at times and try to adopt a pragmatic approach to much of what life throws at me but when it comes to Millwall I am far too easily sucked into the dreaded ‘what ifs’ scenario that seems to befall even the most rational amongst us and yet again I went into this game against Blackburn believing that all was not lost.

Like Scarlet O Hara I had convinced myself after the mid-week debacle that ‘tomorrow is another day’ (please read that last bit in a southern belle accent for full effect).

Well, what I can possibly jot down to allay any fears you may have in regards to impending doom and destruction? Not much, that’s for sure. Those of you poor saps that went to this game don’t need me to tell them that is was pretty grim.

It is not that we don’t give a shit, as most of us do (alright I realise there are some Millwall fans who are akin to a constipated mathematician trying to work things out with a pencil) but the bottom line is this; we are relegation fodder, ready to be grazed on by all and sundry and there aint a damn thing we can do about it.

Or is there…

See, there I go again, I build myself up to a level of acceptance and then destroy my clear and logistical processed thought patterns and default back to the anything is possible ideal.

Mr Holloway is in this category. He has more self-belief that Jesus looking to feed 5 thousand hungry followers. He has not hesitated in changing formations and players to try and secure our safety and this was no exception. He fooled everyone (well me at least) by naming a 4-4-2 line up after I waxed lyrical to my football savvy daughter that if we have learned one thing from Mr Holloway so far it is that he don’t do 4-4-2 to start a game.

Forde in goal, Fredericks, Lowry, Beevers and Williams as the back four, new signing Edwards joined Garvan, Abdou and Onyedinma in midfield with Morison and McDonald up front. Intriguing to say the least…

We started brightly enough, giving it the old Heave Ho me Hearties type of attacking football that caught Blackburn out. In fact, McDonald should have scored early on as we concocted a decent move down the right with Edwards and Fredericks working the overlap well and the final ball was inch perfect but McDonald’s header although firm enough was saved well by the tubby Robinson in the Rovers goal.

The resulting corner kick led to two further successive corners which never led to much, the last one saw a scuffed effort by Morison cleared out of harm’s way by a resolute Rovers defender.

It was pretty clear that Rover’s plan was to counter attack and this almost bore fruit for them round about the ten minute mark. A slick move saw them force Forde into a save that left Williams to mop up as the ball inched precariously towards the goal line.

Garvan was unlucky with a free kick come cross from the right side of their area, the ball bypassing everyone and thumping against the upright before being cleared to safety and straight into another Rovers counter attack, this time Forde saving well from Rhodes.

The half trundled along as both teams fought hard to emit even the slightest resemblance to a football match as the ball moved around of its own accord with the bare minimum of fuss and bother.

Forde was not covering himself in much glory, flapping like demented stork at anything that came near him and the back four looked about as comfortable together as Sharon Tate would being guest of honour at a Charlie Manson welcome home party.

It was dour stuff to watch, there was more entertainment to be had watching Mr Holloway go through his manic arm waving repertoire like a bath salt zombie hailing an imaginary taxi.

The half ended with a damp squib rather than a fanfare of promises to come, the paltry 8,000 crowd had little to look forward to.

The second started in a similar vein the first with the Lions looking lively but with Rovers looking resolute in their defending. But resolute defending turned into some rather robust defending when Morison chased a high hopeful ball into the Rovers box and as he struggled manfully to control the bloody thing he was unceremoniously pulled down by Hanley and to out astonishment the ref actually gave us a penalty. And to make us even more comfortable with his refereeing skills he promptly sent off the hapless Hanley as well.

Morison got up, dusted himself down and like the steely eyed striker he is he promptly let Williams take the spot kick…Williams dispatched the ball into the back of the net and we found ourselves 1-0 to the good. It was a strange feeling, I can tell you.

So, we found ourselves one nil to the good and up against 10 men. It was all looking sooooo good…

Our tails were up and we finally looked like a team that got some self belief back into their veins and we nearly grabbed a second goal with a rather speculative effort from McDonald that whistled just over the bar with Robinson well beaten by the pace.

But the unbridled joy we were experiencing lasted about as long as a first timer about to dip his wick, if that. The equalising goal had an almost inexorable feel about it. Such is life with the Lions at the moment, The Blackburn players at least had the decency not to laugh and point at Forde as he flapped at the corner as Keane plonked the ball home to make it 1-1.

The groans around the Den rumbled on for a good few minutes after this set back and it took a while for any sort of atmosphere to develop but to their eternal credit, the crowd did start to muster a few encouraging words and the players did their best to respond, a Morison through ball to Jackson (on to replace Freddie) saw the striker miss hit his attempt into the grateful arms of Robinson.

Maierhofer came on with about ten minutes left replacing Edwards and Malone replaced Williams for some obscure reason as Mr Holloway went for broke one assumes and although we seemed totally without guile or tact we managed, with barely two minutes remaining, to garner a chance to win the bloody game. Jackson squirmed his way past Keane who made just enough contact to bring the striker to his knees and to our delight the ref pointed to the spot for our second penalty.

Now I am not saying I feared the worse when Jackson took on the responsibility as a striker should for taking the penalty it is just that it didn’t seem possible for us to have such luck thrust upon so the end result would surely be a miss?

Oh ye of little faith…Jackson’s spot kick was text book and we found ourselves back in front, against 10 very tired men with barely a minute and half of normal time left. It must be three points in the bag?

Don’t be so fucking stupid…

The signs were there for all to see when Maierhofer put a lovely ball through for Jackson who sprang past the last man and careered like a runaway express train towards goal. With just Robinson to beat, Jackson, renowned striker and scorer of the perfect penalty must surely bang in the third and killer goal?

As I said just one paragraph ago, don’t be so fucking stupid…

He shot straight at the ‘keeper and the chance went begging.

So now we are in the madhouse of stoppage time so all we had to do was close the game out but if we could do that then we wouldn’t be in this mess we’re in and as sure as eggs is eggs we fucked it up.

The long throw tactic Rovers had employed all game finally paid off. The defence failed to deal with it and the melee that ensued saw King just stab the loose ball over the line to make it 2-2.

The feeling of grief that swept over the home fans was all to palpable and as is the case in these situations the smart money was now going on a Rovers win. Thankfully, that wasn’t to be and as the final whistle went, it truly felt like we had been beaten.

The whole sorry spectacle was played out on the back of our celebrated Docker’s day and some of those poor old sods who were wheeled out before the game must have wondered what in the blue blazes was going on. Even some of the old players from 1998 could have gone out there and done a better job, you felt.

Perception is everything and it is what is perceived at the moment for me is that we are already dead and buried. There will be some of you who will grasp any available straw and will point to the mathematics but I can’t subscribe to that point of view.

For me it is like a bird, soaring high in the sky, on the wing, gracefully riding the thermals, majestic and wondrous for one observer but for the other who has just received the contents of the flying vermin’s bowels all over their newly coiffured hair do, it is a very different perspective of the same vision.

I am firmly in the ‘I’ve copped a dollop of crap’ camp and if you still in the ‘oh it is beautiful’ camp then good luck to you cupcake, I’ll have some of those pills when you have finished with them.

Forest away then Wigan away next…I have the pope on speed dial ready to claim the miracle if we glean a fucking point from these two games combined…

“Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.”
Terry Pratchett
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    I take it you used the speed dial then........I thank you FF